Client / Duration

AgileAssets Inc.
Austin, Texas
Jun 2015 - Sep 2016

My Role

Lead (and sole) UX Designer
Team -
Product manager, developers and QA testers

Responsibilities

Full stack design
Release planning using JIRA
Client presentations
UI coding in HTML/CSS

Key Outcomes

1. New product, worked on it since its incubation
2. 2 sucessful product launches
3. Evangelized design thinking through the organization via lunch-and-learns
4. Fine tuned UI for pixel perfection, with full access to code base
5. Srum master for the whole team
6. Sole UX Designer on the team

Asset Management, done smarter.

1. Context Setting

image project brief

Mobile Work Manager (MWM) is a new mobile application used to manage infrastructure asset operations related work orders.

Annually, every State Department of Transportation (DOT) across the United States gets an annual budget towards maintaining/constructing new infrastructure in their states (This includes big assets like bridges, roads, etc. to small assets like road signs, traffic signals, etc.). The state budget trickles down to districts and further down to county offices which are resposible for maintaining assets within their specific areas. The county offices hire contractors to complete the work (each task/work is called a work order). When the crew goes into the field to complete a work order, they need to record asset location, labor, equipment, materials used and time spent.

Before this project, the work orders were being tracked and recorded using analog mechanisms like paper and manually entered into online systems by the office clerk. MWM was developed to make their process faster, smarter and reliable.

1.1 CURRENT CX

2. Why mobile application?

As seen in the image above, currently the major portion of the asset management operations workflow is done manually and on paper. This leads to high level pain points listed below

2.1 High Level Pain Points

1. Wastage of time and resources when information is recorded after the fact

Currently work crews record their day's work on paper and submit these sheets at the end of the work order to the office clerk whose responsibility is to enter this data into the system.

2. Poor data integrity especially location data

Errors occur in data captured using analog mechanisms especially asset location information.

3. Unrecorded hence incomplete data

The work crew prefered not getting paid over the tedious task of recording small work orders like removing a fallen tree from the road. This also led to discrepencies in system records.

4. Maintenance of paper

Work orders often involved tasks with materials that can damage paper like water, herbicide, grease, etc. This made it very difficult for the workers to maintain their work sheets and report them back to the main office sometimes after 2 weeks.

2.2 opportunities

A mobile solution for asset management operations workflow posed amazing opportunities -

1. Offline Support

One of the biggest value added by the mobile application was for the crew to be able to record work information in the field itself and when the crew would return to the main office with internet access, this data would get uploaded automatically.

2. GPS for locations

Using GPS, accurate locations could be captured.

3. Picture and Voice input

The mobile interface provided opportunities to add pictures to work orders and also use voice input for situations when touch screen could be a problem.

3. Ethnographic research

To dive deeper into the existing day-to-day workflow and identify user needs, the Product Manager, Charles, and I conducted ethnographic research at 3 state departments of transportation - NYDOT (Albany, New York), LADOT (Baton Rouge, Lousiana) and TXDOT (Austin, Texas), where we spent several days at the county offices, talking to crew leaders, crew members, managers, and office clerks. We accompanied the crews on a few work orders and documented their day to day work flows and challenges. We reported back and translated the research findings into product requirements. In classic agile scrum terms, we developed epics, themes and user stories directly informed by the research.

3.2 Selected Quotes

“I want to be able to add all 300 activities on the device. They should be easy to search and add to work orders” - Vince Latino, Main Office

"All LEM (Labor, Equipment, Material) has to be booked individually for each task (in their current system MAMS). We want it to be easier." - Justin, Crew Leader, LADOT

(Lifecycle maintenance) "Create work orders based on date at the back of an asset (eg: sign). These dates should be maintained in inventory” - Unknown, Crew Leader

4. Personas

From the journey map, the team concluded that having the crew leaders as the primary target user for the mobile application would have the highest impact on the overall user experience. In addition, other factors like county budget (for #devices per county office), primary responsibility to record data, etc corroborated this conclusion. From then on, Andrew, Kenny and Jodie became the "user" in our user stories.

5. Prototypes

- Due to dev resource constraints, the business decided to implement the app in hybrid HTML5 (cross platform and no native UI).

- From device availability data and usecases, the team concluded the priority of device/screen-size to be 1. Android tablet (Landscape mode), 2. iPad (Landscape mode) 3. Tablet (Portrait mode) 4. Mobiles

5.1. LAUNCH #1

The first launch was intented to serve as a proof of concept for testing functions critical to the success of the product.

Launch 1 Goals

1. Offline support
2. Download work orders assigned to your crew
3.View work orders on map
4.View locations within a work order on the map
5. Test that google map APIs and existing database backend are compatible with hybrid HTML5 app.

5.1.1 Login screen
5.1.2 Settings screen
5.1.2.1 Settings screen / Offline Map
5.1.3 Work Orders Screen
5.1.3.1 Work Orders Screen / Selected WO
5.1.3.2 Work Orders Screen / WO Details
image project brief

5.2. USABILITY TEST #1

Since this was more of a "View only" POC, the first usability test was intended to get initial feedback from users regarding the direction of the application. The test was done remotely and users were asked to share their feedback regarding the settings screen and the Work order screen.

1. Users expressed interest in having Google Earth maps in addition to the 2-d maps.
2. Users also wanted to see comments on individual locations on a work order, in addition to the work order itself.

We also asked questions around what information they would like to see about the work order in the list view. We landed on WO number, date, Activity type and comment from this usability test.

5.3. LAUNCH #2

Launch 2 Goals

There are 2 types of locations - Linear (example bridges, guardrails, etc.) and Point (example signals, signs, potholes, etc.) Since adding linear locations were more complicated, we decided to start with the funcationality of adding linear locations to existing work orders in our second launch.

5.3.1 STEP 1
5.3.2 STEP 2 / Select Route
5.3.3 STEP 3 / Select From point
5.3.4 STEP 4 / Select To point
5.3.5 STEP 5 / Save
5.3.6 STEP 6 / New location added
image project brief

5.4. USABILITY TEST #2

The test was conducted remotely using Cisco screen share. Users were given the task of adding a new location to an existing work order.

1. Alternate method to enter location - Users wanted alternate methods like manually entering locations in addition to GPS
2. BACK button vs CANCEL button - Users were confused with cancel button on the 4-step location adding process. Instead they wanted a BACK button to be able to go back a step

5.5. Next (Not launched)

5.5.1 create new work order
Background Image

In order to communicate motion to developers, I also created short movies (using JustInMind and Adobe AfterEffects). I do not possess such movies for the features above anymore unfortunately.

5.5.2 Add Labor daycards

6. Reflections

6.1 Challenges

1. Second UX designer ever hired in the company. No style guides/ design systems/ patterns
2. New UX Culture
3. 1 of 2 designers total in the company. Little UX critique opportunities

6.2 Go back?

1. Visual design - Given how much I have learned since then in the area of visual design, I would love to go back and improve on it.
2. Test, test and more test.

7. Beyond 9-5

1. Evangelized Design Thinking Methodology through lunch-and-learns and workshops
2. Advocated and executed on consistent branding across various company marketting assets like presentations, posters, etc.


Content & Design © 2019. Urvashi Gupta